The world's first baby has been born using a more 'natural' type of IVF. The breakthrough study, which took four years to complete, used a natural occurring hormone called kisspeptin, which helps to induce egg development.
It allows women to avoid the use of the traditional IVF drug which can trigger a serious condition called ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). Women most at risk of OHSS are those with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Talking to HuffPost UK Lifestyle, Geoffrey H Trew, Consultant in Reproductive Medicine & Surgery at Hammersmith Hospital, said, “Most women are now being treated by IVF very safely but a small group can go on to develop OHSS. If you are likely to get it, we can identify with bloods and scans, and over the last 10 years we've narrowed it down to about 1% of women getting it.
"But with IVF we’re dealing with otherwise healthy people so even a 1% risk is too high. We’re looking at a way to make IVF even safer. The important thing is we’re using the peptide. Now we’ve shown it works on normal appearing ovaries, we need to progress to a different study of high risk patients."
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Suzannah Kidd, 34, gave birth to baby Heath in April 2013 weighing 7.15lb. She says: "We have been lucky enough to have two successful attempts at IVF, and thankfully have not been affected by OHSS. However, many women are affected and the symptoms can be really serious."
Trew went on to explain how the new drug works. "People who have OHSS have an over response to the traditional IVF drug. That involves stimulating ovaries, then there is a trigger injection with HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) that then matures the egg. HCG has too long an effect on the body so the new drug replaces HCG with more natural compound, which in turn has a more natural effect on the body."
The success rate from the study looks promising. A total of 30 women took part in the study and the kisspeptin successfully induced egg production in 29 of the women, with embryos developing in 28. Overall it resulted in one successful birth.